Feb. 8, 2021

What in the World Does Colossians 1:24 Even Mean?

What in the World Does Colossians 1:24 Even Mean?

Colossians 1:24, NIV: "Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."

Colossians 1:24, NLT: "I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church."

In Colossians 1:23 Paul encourages believers to stand strong and immovable in what they know to be true about Jesus Christ. Paul says he is a servant sent to proclaim that Truth to every creature under heaven. 

And then he writes verse 24 and leaves us all scratching our heads. 

The interpretation of this verse is heavily disputed, particularly when Paul mentions "Christ’s afflictions."

What exactly is Paul saying here?

Listen now and find out!

xoxo,
 Julie Carruth
 hello@TheSimpleTruthPodcast.com
 
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Transcript

Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth. 

In Colossians 1:23 Paul encourages believers to stand strong and immovable in what they know to be true about Jesus Christ. Paul says he is a servant sent to proclaim that Truth to every creature under heaven. 

He continues in verse 24 with, “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”

So, did you understand that verse? If so, congratulations. You’re definitely a step ahead of me. Lol. The interpretation of this verse is heavily disputed, particularly when Paul mentions Christ’s afflictions. He says, “I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions.”

What’s he saying here? It’s almost as if he’s saying that what Christ did wasn’t good enough. There are even many Roman Catholics who claim this verse means that we are to suffer in order to supplement what Christ did on the cross.

But if you keep this verse in context, we know that’s not correct. We can’t add anything to the cross. Paul just spent several verses teaching about the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. 

 But Paul knew his sufferings had a purpose and he said it brought him great joy to do it. This guy survived extreme beatings, excruciating lashes and stoning, hunger, exposure to the elements, imprisonment. And yet he persevered and even thrived because of it. 

 And can we point out that if Paul had continued down the path he was on before becoming a Christian, his name literally would’ve been written in the who’s who of Jewish history books today.  

And yet something happened on that road to Damascus that changed his entire life. No one would be willing to go through what he did if he wasn’t 100% convinced that Jesus Christ is who He says He is. This guy was legit. And that alone should encourage us to continue fighting the good fight of faith. 

I love what The Passion Translation says about this verse in the footnotes, “Paul’s sufferings were meant to be an example of Christ and a testimony to his converts that his ministry was sincere.” 

So, your Simple Truth for today: Paul KNEW His purpose was to deliver the good news of the gospel to all creation. If that involved suffering and persecution, then so be it. To Paul, it brought him joy to share in the same suffering as what Jesus endured in order to build Christ’s Church. 

Have a blessed day. I’ll see you tomorrow.